- Paperback: 1 pages
- Publisher: Crossway Books; 1 edition (1 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433506076
- ISBN-13: 978-1433506079
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.1 x 20.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,044,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
IMMIGRATION CRISIS THE PB Paperback – 1 Apr 2009
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About the Author
James K. Hoffmeier (PhD, University of Toronto), who has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for more than thirty years, is now professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University. Born and raised in Egypt, he has been a refugee from war and an alien in two different countries, making him sensitive to immigration issues.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
His arguments are based entirely on Scripture & published archaeological research. Further, he exegetes the relevant passages from Scripture, exploring in depth the original languages in their historical context. The outcome for me is what I believe anyone well grounded in Scripture would expect. Immigrants should be welcomed subject to due diligence vetting by the host country & held accountable for complying with the host's laws. For those immigrants intending-hoping to remain in the host country long-term &/or to become citizens, they're expected to acculturate themselves to the host's culture.
Advocates of open borders & 'pure' compassion driven response to immigration will probably be disappointed by these outcomes. To the extent that they believe their arguments are based on Scripture, Hoffmeier's scholarship should compel them to engage their own research in the same & whatever other relevant sources they can find. They'll be hard pressed to counter his arguments.
I think this is a timely work and should be consulted by deacons and church boards as well as others who work with immigrants and aliens.
If close interaction with immigrants is yet another believability factor, then Hoffmeier gets another check mark. He lives in matrimony with a lady of Chinese heritage. His daughter is wedded to a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines.
However, any affinity felt by a peruser towards the author of "The immigration Crisis" gives way sooner than later to disenchantment, especially if the reader is either illegal or has overstayed his or her visa. To such an audience Hoffmeier offers the same advice that he offered a character in his book named George and agreeably quotes the reaction of certain prospective immigrants waiting in line for their turn: pack up and leave your host country as hard a decision as that may be for it is unjust that while some immigrants have to wait in line for years to enter legally, many others enter or stay illegally.
Seemingly cognizant that the unpalatability of such a stance is bound to not only earn him the label "anti-immigrant," but possibly also arouse curiosity from his readers as to whether during his stay abroad he comported with the immigration laws of the host country, Hoffmeier is quick to point out that whether as a minor or a major he maintained legal status. As a minor in Egypt his parents did not enter and work in Egypt until they had obtained visas and work permits. Having gotten the permission to work they did not allow their work permit to expire. As a major in Canada wanting to enter Canada he had to undergo a physical exam, fill out countless form, and then wait for months to hear the outcome of his request. Having entered the country legally he maintained legal status throughout his stay there.
Moving on to the substance of the book itself, Hoffmeier begins by specifying his goal as contextually examining immigrant stories and laws in the Bible and bringing to bear the findings of the study to the current immigration crisis not just in the Americas but also in Europe as well.
He then reminds us that disregard for territorial integrity by infiltrators and efforts to seal the border as a way of ensuring respect for national sovereignty dates back to the period before, during, and after Abraham. King Khety of Dynasty 10 found himself having to repel Asiatic semi-nomad infiltrations in search of food and water. A tomb scene (dated 1862 B.C) depicting Abishai and a group of other foreigners being granted authorization to work by an Egyptian governor shows that a visa system was in place in middle Egypt. Besides, the northern border was most secure during this period as per the 1960 B.C. Prophecy of Nerferti--sufficient number of soldiers manned the forts.
Then comes what we consider the heart of the book. The population of any country is made up of citizens and non-citizens. According to Hoffmeier, non-citizens in the Bible can be further grouped into ger/toshav and nekhar/zar. The distinction between the two is that the former regards the land of his sojourning as the new home for a protracted period of time while the latter, a foreigner, does not. Association of the ger with expressions such as "among you" or with you" is an indication of legal presence. Thus Abraham was a legal immigrant not only because he identifies himself as a ger (Gen 23:4) but also because the residents of Hebron acknowledged his status as being one who is "among us" (v. 6). The members of the family of Jacob were legal immigrants in Egypt by virtue of the fact that they not only sought permission to settle in Goshen but permission was granted (Gen 47:6). Moses was a legal immigrant following Jethro's invitation (Exod 3:1). Extension of invitation coupled with marriage to a citizen renders Ruth a legal resident even though she refers to herself as a nokheriah (the feminine form of nekhar). Joseph (the father of Jesus) in Egypt was a legal immigrant because, as per Hoffmeir, he undoubtedly sought permission to enter the country at one of the many military stations at the border.
Further evidence that the ger had legal standing in the community in a way that the nekhar/zar did not is in the application of the law. Whether for better (positive declarations) or for worse (prohibitions), both the ger and the citizen were held to the same legal standard. Both were prohibited from sacrificing their children to Molech (Lev 20:2). Both were allowed access to a city of refuge for protection following unintentional killing (Josh 20:9). Both, if poor, were eligible for welfare (Lev 19:10; Deut 24:19). At the same time the same law excluded the nekhar/zar while including the ger alongside the citizen. For instance whereas a nekha was forbidden from participating in the Passover (Exod 12:43), the ger was not (v. 48).
Towards the end Hoffmeier interacts with Carroll's work on the same topic and relays the following counter-points: (a) the claim by Carroll that the starting point in the immigration discourse should be that the immigrant is made in the image of God regardless of whether he or she has proper legal documentation overlooks the fact that the believer is held equally to the truth of Gen 1:27-28 and Rom 13:1-7 (b) Carroll's attempt to equate American immigration laws as an example of a conflict between secular and sacred laws (cf Acts 4:19) is a matter of special pleading.
In the last chapter Hoffmeier lists the following implications of his study: (1) Nations have the right to determine who enter their land and under what circumstances and which foreigners to confer resident or alien status (2) Nations that receive aliens must not at some future time turn against them mistreat them as the Egyptians did the Israelites or the Americans did the Japanese Americans during World War II (3) Cities and municipalities who offer sanctuary for illegal aliens cannot be equated with the sanctuary cites in the Old cities since biblical sanctuary was only intended to allow the innocent party to get fair hearing and trial, and not for the purpose of sheltering lawbreakers from the authorities (4) Legal immigrants who are needy should be extended governmental social services such as welfare, unemployment, food stamps, job training, and other benefits offered to disadvantages citizens (5) Illegal immigrants should not expect the same privileges from the state whose laws they disregard by virtue of their undocumented status.